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Unhappy workers face health risks

That crummy boss in the window office could be slowly killing you, according to a study of British workers.
/ Source: Reuters

That crummy boss in the window office could be slowly killing you, according to a study of British workers published Monday.

Researchers in Finland who did the study found that workers who felt they were being treated fairly had a much lower incidence of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in all Western societies.

“Most people care deeply about just treatment by authorities,” study author Mika Kivimaki of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health wrote in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine. “Lack of justice may be a source of oppression, deprivation and stress.”

People consider that they are being treated fairly at work when they believe their supervisor considers their viewpoint, shares information about decision-making and treats individuals fairly and in a truthful manner, the study said.

The researchers tracked the 10-year incidence of heart disease in over 6,400 male civil servants in London who had been polled on their perceived level of justice and injustice in the workplace.

“In men who perceived a high level of justice, the risk of coronary heart disease was 30 percent lower than among those who perceived a low or an intermediate level of justice,” the researchers said.

That finding was not accounted for by other risk factors, from age and socioeconomic status to cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption and physical activity, the authors said.

Rania Sedhom, a labor and employment attorney with Meyer Suozzi English & Klein in New York who commented on the research, said a parallel study in the United States could find even more dramatic results because of the longer American work day.